Today, Guest Postapalooza begins! Our first post is from Satsuma, who is handing Gale Hawthorne a healthy dose of something he needs more from fans: understanding.
Just to clarify– We don’t write many character based posts, so any Peeta-biased sentiment suggested here comes mainly from other guest posts.
I’ve noticed that Katniss and Peeta get a lot of attention around here, but Gale, not so much. So here’s my attempt to give the Boy With the Snares some love. Some of this was inspired by the recent debates along THG fandom these days, with some fans being very worried that Francis Lawrence and others involved in the Catching Fire movie, are paying too much attention to Gale Hawthorne as a
character, and giving others (well, TBH, ONE other, his “rival” Peeta) short shrift.
Certainly, Gale DOES seem to fit a certain mold of hero that is often showcased in movies and TV shows. The Handsome Rebellious Action Hero, who has women falling all over him (but lets romance take a back seat to the Cause) like an alpha male should, but is also a Family Man who loves his mother and family, both by blood and “adopted” in the case of the Everdeens. A “local boy made good” who moves up in the world, getting some well-deserved, cathartic revenge on his enemies on the way.
But while Gale seems to fill many traditional “action hero” tropes, it seems only a minority of fans see him as anywhere near heroic. SC manages to subvert those tropes, when another author might have painted Gale’s actions as completely justified, because “we’re fighting a war here” where there’s no room for mercy towards your enemies. Many stories that deal with rebellions against tyrants, portray the rebels as innocent, oppressed people throwing off their chains, who the audience can cheer for without reservation, even as they’re blowing up thousands of people.
What I find to be groundbreaking about the THG series, is that Suzanne Collins does NOT let the rebels off the hook, does not give the reader that cathartic moment when the enemy falls, and all becomes right with the world. She does not use the atrocities committed by the Capitol side to justify those of the rebels. Not only that, while good ol’ Alma is obviously the “other side of the Coin”, to Snow, and her evilness is shocking to some, I don’t think Collins meant for the whole war to be just a struggle for power between Snow, Coin, and their cronies, or for Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, and other soldiers to be mere pawns in their Game-of-Thrones-like schemes. I think Gale’s story specifically makes that much too simple an interpretation.
I never got the impression that Gale is meant to be a mere victim of Coin and her machinations, anymore than he is a mere victim of Snow and his regime. Gale makes his own decision to “take a page out of Snow’s book”, exercises his own agency in doing so, and deserves his share of responsibility for the consequences.
However, just because Gale is not meant to be a hero or a victim, neither is he a villain. If you look at matters from Gale’s POV, we know that he faced hardships all his life due to the Capitol oppressing the Districts, and was almost whipped to death for the crime of trying to feed his family. Not only that, when the Capitol bombed D12, he saw thousands of innocent people brutally massacred, with no way to fight back.
Do I agree with his “fight fire with fire” attitude? No, but I can understand it, and sympathize with Gale’s thirst for revenge. Katniss does as well, when she imagines the scene after Gale tells her, in D2, of seeing children burned alive by Capitol bombs, bombs dropped by Peacekeepers from D2. For a moment, she wants “everyone in the mountain dead”. I think most fans wind up sympathizing with Gale, but not so much that they find his actions completely justified.
What’s also interesting is that, despite his actions, Gale winds up with what might be the happiest ending possible in the world SC has created. Yes, he loses Katniss’s friendship, but he isn’t dead,
maimed, or psychologically destroyed. He hasn’t lost his mother or his siblings and he seems to have achieved some material success with his “fancy job in D2″. Another author might have been tempted to “punish” Gale more as a way to make it quite obvious that He Did The Wrong Thing.
Now, I’m sure some readers did conclude that the ending of MJ shows there’s no point in trying to do the right thing, that the best way to live life is to just look out for your own welfare, and perhaps that of your family. That doesn’t seem to be the majority opinion, though. Seems SC was right to give her readers more credit, that they could understand that just because good deeds aren’t always rewarded, and evil deeds often not punished, doesn’t mean “there is no good and evil, only power” (to quote a certain character from Harry Potter).
Now, does Gale sleep well at night, or is he haunted by Prim’s death, perhaps that of others? We don’t know. We also don’t know the exact nature of his “fancy job” in D2, but it seems likely that he has a position in the “military-industrial complex” there. Did he go there as a conqueror, to rule over those in D2? Or did he realize that he DID have similarities to the people there, much like Katniss did earlier? We don’t know, and perhaps SC meant for this ambiguity to exist. Another interesting question is whether Gale would have agreed with Coin’s proposal for a Hunger Games involving Capitol kids. I’m really not sure myself. I think much depends on whether Prim’s death led him to question anything, or if he thinks it’s justified to “show them what it’s like to lose what they love”. (That’s a quote from a certain character in Game of Thrones.)
Now, all that being said, will Movie!Gale wind up being shown as more heroic than Book!Gale? Or more romantically desirable, to the point that movie watchers will wonder why Katniss lets him walk away? I suppose the risk is there, especially if they show Gale rescuing people in D12 at the end of CF, or perhaps being part of the tribute rescue mission in MJ. However, at this point I’m still pretty confident that Suzanne, Nina, Francis, and others involved will avoid that trap. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Time for another reaction post, this time for the NEW CATCHING FIRE TRAILER! As you can tell, we’re still flailing!
If you’ve never seen our group reaction posts before, they can get pretty damn long. Therefore, we’ve contained most of it under a cut! So refresh yourself by watching the trailer once more, read on, and don’t forget to hit READ MORE for the full effect!
HELLO THERE, TENSION DRIVEN ANXIETY!
TGWTP: Okay! Let’s start with Katniss and Peeta and the Victory Tour. Was it what you were expecting?
Twiffidy: This seems like a much darker version of what I imagined the Victory Tour to be, but I like it!
Them There Eyes: Yes and no. I was expecting more glamour, but I honestly like the grittier side of it that they’ve shown in this.
Twiffidy: Yes exactly, a lot grittier.
Them There Eyes: I like it a lot. I wanted more darkness in the 1st film, so… this is actually living up to my expectations more than that, and I’ve only seen snippets.
TGWTP: Yes! I loved the first film, but I didn’t feel the tension like I wanted to, This time around. It’s there. You definitely see how the experience changed the characters too. The settings aren’t just dark, they are too.
Twiffidy: Totally, even Peeta who was smiling and waving on the train in the first movie
Them There Eyes: Yes! The 1st time I watched this trailer I didn’t take it all in. The second time, it took my breath away, it was so intense.
Twiffidy: He pretty much doesn’t smile.
Them There Eyes: Peeta’s lost his innocence, I think that’s what this trailer is telling the world.
TGWTP: I love that he’s unhappy but still gentle. They cut out his outburst in the attic from the trailer, but I hope it’s in the movie. It’s so powerful because he usually IS so sensitive.
Them There Eyes: I just remember how non-fans of the series watched the 1st film, and said they thought Peeta was weak. I don’t think they can call him weak anymore, he looks kind of pissed actually.
PEACEKEEPERS LOVE DOCTOR WHO
Them There Eyes: Can we please talk about the symbolism, of those Peacekeepers costumes!
Twiffidy: I’m really believing that “riot gear” theory from a while back
Them There Eyes: It’s seriously disturbing how their backs resemble a reptile, and then they go crawling, or slithering into that crowd of earth tones like they’re evil ice reptiles.
Twiffidy: Oh man, if that’s any foreshadowing to the reptile mutts…!
Them There Eyes: I never thought of that! But… yes please!
TGWTP: They’re definitely meant to look like a insect or reptilian sort of SWAT team
Them There Eyes: Oh, their helmets remind me of a monster from Doctor Who as well. I can’t recall, but it was a motor cycle geared up soulless cyborg type thing. I think it was from the Tennant era?
THE WHITE ROSE OF BROMANTIC DESIRE
TGWTP: Snow and Plutarch, anyone?
Twiffidy: I swear it reminds of Varys and Littlefinger talking at the counsel table on Game of Thrones
Them There Eyes: I am digging this whole new kind of canon, where the Gamemaker, and the president have little chats.
Twiffidy: Plotting the Games together.
Them There Eyes: And yes, it’s very Game of Thrones-y. I wish Tyrion would walk in and drag a chair to the other side of the room, and just… be amazing
TGWTP: Guys… I think I ship Snow/Plutarch now. Is that wrong?
Them There Eyes: Plutarch/Snow will be braiding each others hair soon… it’s bound to happen.
TGWTP: They bonded over their love of antique furniture and death and now they’ll live happily ever after, right?
Them There Eyes: Yes, happily ever after watching Finnick Odair do what he does best…
TGWTP: Until Plutarch totes turns out to be the best spy ever, that is. He’ll reluctant sneak out at that point, never to be heard from again!
Twiffidy: Snow seems to have way more respect for Plutarch than he did for Seneca.
Them There Eyes: Oh, yeah. He absolutely has more respect for him, he probably thinks he’s less of a threat ’cause he’s older, and a little bit fat, and more old fashioned.
Twiffidy: I think it’ll make the twist of Plutarch’s character that much more surprising. Also, Plutarch seems way less comical than he does in the books.
Them There Eyes: Yeah… maybe that’s just a persona he puts on for Katniss, and this is Closed Doors Plutarch?
TGWTP: Yes! They’ve made him sinister with Snow, which I think works better for film. Maybe in Mockingjay, we see that other side more?
Twiffidy: It’ll be interesting to seem how he acts in the open. The first movie implied that the Head Gamemaker is kind of a public figure.
Them There Eyes: Seneca was more than a figure, I think he was a celebrity in his own right, and then he got a big head because of it.
Them There Eyes: Also, gotta say it… I think it’s telling that Hoffman kept his New York accent. I also think it’s a “tell” to those who are paying attention that he’s a rebel.
Twiffidy: And yes, he could’ve done so many different kinds of voices for Plutarch, it seems like an interesting choice.
TGWTP: Yes, especially where Donald Sutherland’s voice is some much more structured and rigid.
TGWTP: I love how PSH says “They’ll hate her so much, they might just kill her for ya”. Honestly, that is my favorite line in the whole trailer. I DON’T KNOW WHY.
Them There Eyes: Because it’s so delicously evil?
TGWTP: YES, because it is so deliciously evil and so how I picture Plutarch!
Them There Eyes: Yes, a slimy pig in a great suit?
The Capitol Portraits have been arriving all week and we are in OVERLOAD MODE! Rather than only dedicate a skimpy paragraph to each in a typical post, we’re going old school!
For those of you who only discovered the site recently, we occasionally like to team up and BREAK IT DOWN for our audience, chat style! It’s long (hence the “Read More” tag! Click it!) and meticulous and hilariously ridiculous! Enjoy the party!
EFFIE MCQUEEN OF GENOVIA
The Girl With The Pearl: Okay ladies, let’s start with Effie!
Them There Eyes: I think they’ve upped the ante, and this was just our first taste of how far they’re potentially going.
TGWTP: Here’s my only hesitation: Is too much of one color a bad thing?
Them There Eyes: I don’t think it’s too much color at all! She’s supposed to clash, and pop, and other sounds.
Twiffidy: Yeah, too much color is very Capitol anyway.
TGWTP: I love that she’s got a regal gown with frilly but awesome shoes and SPACEMAN GLOVES!
Them There Eyes: I also love the clash of how soft her hair, shoes, and dress are in contrast to the gauntlet rings.
Twiffidy: This gave me flashbacks of when I went to the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met when I was in New York a couple of years ago.
Them There Eyes: I am in such hard like with Alexander McQueen… I’ve been looking at his work for years and going “Capitol, Capitol, Capitol.”
TGWTP: Alexander McQueen is the official designer of Effie Trinket. Which would technically make her totally vintage!
Them There Eyes: I know… her shoes were McQueen last year! And I’ve been pinning heelless shoes to my Panem themed pin board on Pinterest for months….. when I saw those shoes I flipped the fuck out, ’cause I’ve pinned several similar versions by McQueen.
Twiffidy: And these heelless shoes were A-MA-ZING!
TGWTP: Elizabeth Banks could wear a potato sack and look good, but Alexander McQueen definitely helps. I want to test that potato sack theory someday, though. I say that about these actors, but I need to see them in potato sacks!
Twiffidy: And I don’t know if those are bracelets or part of the glove, but I like that contrasting color, it helps break it up so there isn’t too much of the pink. And Elizabeth’s pose is perfect, very charm school with the crossed ankles.
Them There Eyes: Yes, very poised… polite, queenly. I’ve seen gloves like that before in my mother’s knitting books, they have sort of bells on them… or petals like a flower. And her pose makes me think of that sequence in the Princess Diaries.
Twiffidy: Haha yes! Very Princess Diaries! I’m waiting for her to tell Katniss to do the “Thank you for being here” wave.
TGWTP: There’s a reason that Effie always gets released first. The image demands your attention!
Twiffidy: Oh my gosh, yes… They do like to release her early!
A LITTLE LESS KARL LAGERFELD, A LITTLE MORE BARBIE
The Girl With The Pearl: Speaking of demanding attention, what do we think about Caesar?
Twiffidy: Funny story, I showed this to my friend and he did not even realize Caesar had a ponytail in the first movie
Them There Eyes: His hair still makes me think of one of my My Little Ponies. Her name was Rattles.
TGWTP: Well, it’s a high ponytail this time around. Caesar and Barbie now have something in common!
Twiffidy: Haha… a little less Karl Lagerfeld, a little more Barbie.
Them There Eyes: At least it doesn’t remind me of Michael Bolton anymore!
TGWTP: At first glance, I thought his hair was shaved off on the sides and I got really distressed!
Twiffidy: Did you notice his eyebrows look a little purple-y?
Them There Eyes: Yeah, they’re violet. He was already one of the more extremely styled people they had, but still it’s up a notch or two, which is what I was craving.
Twiffidy: I’m glad they stuck with the textured suit idea from the first movie and then elevated it.
TGWTP: Caesar is basically a 5-year-old’s hair color experiment.
Them There Eyes: Kool-Aid!
Them There Eyes: Great. Now the Kool-Aid guy is going to come crashing in here saying “Ohhhh yeaaahhh!”
EXPERIMENTAL SEX CLUBS IN THE MATRIX
TGWTP: Then let’s run to the next victim! *cough* I mean, subject! Cinna!
Twiffidy: My male friend said he wants Cinna’s boots.
Them There Eyes: If they wanted to scream rebel in our faces, but in a sexy way…. they’ve achieved that affect.
TGWTP: I know Cinna is not very Capitol and quite understated, but I still wanted MORE. His jacket has that emperor effect, so I appreciate that.
Twiffidy: But I think the gold eye liner is still there, which is reassuring.
TGWTP: It is, which makes it okay for him to be in all black.
Them There Eyes: Why all leather though?
TGWTP: No idea! Does anyone else think the tight leather sleeves make his arms look like toothpicks?
Twiffidy: This gives me such a Matrix vibe, especially with the green background.
Them There Eyes: Yes, that’s what I was trying to grasp onto… Matrix!
TGWTP: Seriously! I’m expecting Neo and Trinity any minute now!
Them There Eyes: He looks like Morpheus’ baby brother! I’ll say this… I’m glad they got rid of the medallion necklace. He has the gold hoops in his ear, and one ring on… His accessories are set in my eyes now. But…. do we think he looks a little sex club-y?
Twiffidy: Just the forearms.
Them There Eyes: Just the arms are sex club worthy? Wow… Up your game, Cinna!
TGWTP: It could happen. Cinna could be the quiet type who actually spends all his nights getting his freak on in peculiar places.
Them There Eyes: I smell a fan-fic!
Twiffidy: Be careful what you wish for!
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Whether you love it or hate it, it’s here. Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you’re single, you’re probably wishing that real people were as easy to love as fictional characters. Dating or married? It’s not cheating if you’re enamored with a fictional character (or five!) Either way, it’s totally not weird. We swear!
Therefore, we’ve got some hilariously steamy Valentines from the people you REALLY want them from!
Kick back with some chocolate, perhaps a little wine, and enjoy! Perhaps if you by some chocolate on February 15, a.k.a. the half-price candy holiday of pure joy, and stick one of these on there, it will make your love life a little more awesome!
So we make graphic in the same fashion in which we write posts– at an early high school level– but you still love us, right?
Remember: It’s Not Wrong If They’re Not Real,
The Girl With The Pearl
** Seneca Crane’s manscaping line inspired by the hilarious Shylah Addante of Down With The Capitol.
Winter Storm Nemo left me stranded at someone else’s house for the majority of the past three days, which means one thing: Television marathons (plus two books read!) NCIS is my crime drama poison of choice and in this marathon, I caught the episode in which the Director dies in a fearsome firefight.
Naturally, my thought process went to the most obvious place: OH SNAP! WHAT IF KATNISS DIED BEFORE SHE GOT TO THE CAPITOL?
You know it’s not going to happen when Katniss is the narrator, but she DOES wake up in the hospital quite a bit. Electrified, choked, shot, and burned… Yet she goes on *raises lighter*
But if something were to happen to The Mockingjay, things would change. She would be remembered as a martyr and the rebels would rise up stronger than ever. Her friends and family would be scarred more than ever. Despite all this, The Rebellion would need a new leader.
So who gets the coveted role? Let’s find out how the other characters will manage:
Peeta - The least likely candidate, given that his brain has been toyed with by a bunch of Capitol croonies. He’ll also consider himself indirectly responsible from Katniss running off to District 2 (you know, months later when the hijacking wears down) or HE STRANGLES KATNISS TO DEATH, which definitely doesn’t make him our hero. Safe to say he’s out of the running!
Haymitch - He’s got a leg up on Peeta, but only because he never attacked Katniss. A forcefully sobered up, ragged old Haymitch is a great behind-the-scenes guy, but could you imagine him on camera?! The rebellion would be too busy gawking at this mess o’ man to actually stop and fight!
Boggs - Hey look! The only actual soldier of the bunch! District 13 might want to put a familiar face in the spotlight, one with skills and family values and such, but alas, they cannot! How would the oppressed relate to someone who grew up in an autonomous District, even if he is running the military strategy? Sorry, Boggsy!
Johanna - If Katniss dies before Johanna fails her big test, maybe she wouldn’t be given the test at all. Coin and her crew might want another strong female to spread their message, but Johanna is much less likely to play along. She’s got no one left to love (SOB!) and she’d give all those politics the finger before carrying on by herself.
Gale - We get tbe feeling Gale would be more than eager to be the rebellion’s poster boy. He understands the art of war and he’ll want to avenge Katniss. Plus, he’s got an in with the “I was Katniss’ cousin/ broski” backstory! Yet he doesn’t have it all– he’ll be angry and ready for action, thus missing that bright-eyed hope for the future and vulnerability. He won’t be as relatable as a past Victor.
Finnick - If this were a vote, we’d go for this guy! Finnick has a dark history as a Victor and sex slave, but he’s bared his soul (and his chest) to the people of Panem. He’s a face that everyone knows and trusts. By the time Katniss is gone, he’ll have Annie back and he’ll want to protect her by getting this war over with. Plus, he’ll avenge Katniss’ memory in words, rather than going “RAHHHHH! LOOK AT MY ANGER AND GUNS ROAR!”, which many others would do. He’ll be a bit reluctant, we suppose, but sometimes reluctant leaders who don’t recognize their own strength and value are the best type!
There you go, our emergency plan for a plot twist that will never happen! Aren’t you so glad you read it?
This Is The Darkest Timeline,
The Girl With The Pearl
So long, Superbowl! We admit to subjecting ourselves to food-bingeing, booze-swilling, dude-broing whenever you come around, even though we really don’t care who wins.
Right now, we could write up that post about how the massively watched semi-violent sporting events could kind be a precursor to the sick obsession with violent realities in The Hunger Games but we’re not going to. We love both our denial and occasionally acting like Hemsy and his imaginary frat brothers. DEAL.
Instead, we’re going to talk about sports! … Yeah, yeah, quit ya groaning!
The one thing that’s missing in the world of Panem is play. We suppose in a world where everyone is starving and live death matches are classified as “games”, playing isn’t on the forefront of a child’s mind. We realize this isn’t Harry Potter and there ain’t no room for Quidditch in the dystopian future. But even in the most torn up, impoverished countries, simple play still exists: soccer with any number of kickable items, hand-clapping games, tag… it’s out there.
Chances are we didn’t see a lot of playing around because the story is told from Katniss’ perspective. She grew up far too quickly and she’s not someone to notice or revel in children playing. The closest she gets to a game is Crazy Cat, which is really just a metaphor for her inner anguish. The girl rolls everything in a thin layer of emo.
So if Panem has given up on the game, we’re bring the game to them! That’s right…
CHARACTER FANTASY FOOTBALL OF ATROCIOUS ATROCITY!
Let’s start by saying the Presidents Snow and Coin are not players. Coaches, perhaps, maybe just owners up in their box seats. And because “Team Capitol” doesn’t have a lot of members with names, we’re basically sticking to “Team 13″, where Haymitch Abernathy is the world’s drunkest offensive coordinator.
Quarterback – Katniss Everdeen. It may seems obvious, but we considered putting Peeta or Gale here too. Katniss wins because the QB is a leader, the one who everyone has to follow if the team is going to work. Reluctant or not, likable or not, everyone follows Katniss. In return, SHE MAKES PLAYS.
Running Back – Peeta Mellark. Fans have love/hate relationships with Running Backs. Sometimes, under the right circumstances, they’re brilliant and win big. Other times, they don’t have the chance to do much and they’re seriously taken for granted. Peeta is hunted, beguiled, betrayed, and hijacked, yet he still chugs along, making the best plays he can.
Wide Receiver – Gale Hawthorne. Wide receivers work with the Quarterback quite a bit. They’re usually the go-to guys the QBs look for when the game gets tense. When everything is on the line and Katniss needs someone else she can trust to share her burden, she goes to Gale. He helps her complete her goals when the pressure is on.
Tight End – Finnick Odair. Because have you seen the descriptions of his sweet, sweet muscles?! Just kidding! Tight End is an important role, but also a versatile one, back and forth between the jobs of a receiver and an offensive lineman. He protects his QB, but also makes plays of his own. It’s the Finnick we know and love.
Cornerback – Johanna Mason. Becuase she needs a defensive position! Cornerbacks are typically small and agile with a bite. They keep the other team’s receivers from making the big play, which was pretty much Johanna’s job through all of Catching Fire.
Linebacker – Boggs. More specifically, the Inside Linebacker, who traditionally calls the shots for the defense and takes on various defensive “jobs” on the field. They’re usually the ones taking down the other team’s players, to boot. Boggs is calling is shots, managing the politics, being a father and a friend, all while daringly kicking a revolution into gear.
We know there’s more positions to fill, but frankly, our knowledge of football isn’t all that extensive.
This Takes TEAM KATNISS To A Whole New Level,
The Girl With The Pearl
Here’s to another guest post Monday! This week, Satsuma is back with the conclusion to her “Will The Real Katniss Everdeen Please Stand Up?” article! Enjoy!
Hi everyone! Here is the (hopefully) long-awaited Part Two of my Katniss essay, focusing on a common misconception; that Katniss is, essentially, “Gale with tatas”. Katniss herself states, at the end of MJ, that “what I need to survive is not Gale‘s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction.”(MJ Ch.26) Seems pretty obvious that she thinks she’s more like Gale than her “dandelion” Peeta, right? But wait! Yes, both Gale and Katniss have “plenty of fire”. But is Katniss really filled with the same rage, hatred, and destructiveness that she attributes to Gale?
Now, way back in Chapter 1 of THG, Katniss reveals her anger and resentment towards her mother for her neglect after Mr. Everdeen’s death, and admits, “I’m not the forgiving type”. But after her mother lends her the blue dress from her merchant days for the reaping, she states that “I’m trying to get past rejecting offers of help from her. For a while, I was so angry, I wouldn’t allow her to do anything for me.” Also, after Gale reacts badly to Madge’s comments about going to the Capitol, she notes, “His rages seem pointless to me, though I never say so”. (Quotes from THG Ch.1)
Is Katniss being a hypocrite here? Maybe, but not completely, because while both Gale and Katniss get angry, the difference is how they deal with it. Though Katniss admits that she can be angry and unforgiving, she is also shown trying to overcome these tendencies. When she does give in, it’s usually in stressful situations, such as after the THG reaping, when she tries to get her mother to “promise me you’ll fight through it” (THG Ch.3) even if she dies. They also argue over Gale’s pain medication after he’s whipped in Catching Fire, but she apologizes later. She is reluctant to trust her mother, but she certainly doesn’t hate her, and gains more sympathy for her as she goes along.
When I went through the books for other examples of Katniss becoming visibly angry, I realized that most of the time, it’s under periods of stress, unlike Gale, who goes on his anti-Capitol rants during their time in the woods, which Katniss usually finds relatively relaxing. One example is when she gets angry at Peeta in THG when she loses sight of him when they are trying to gather food. (BTW, I think the movie version of that scene definitely captured the essence of both Katniss and Peeta’s reactions.)
Here, she actually states outright, “My fear comes out as anger.” (THG Ch.23). Now, after Peeta hugs her, she does “push away, trying to sort out my feelings”, so she hasn’t quite connected the dots as to why she cares so much. But that seems to be what’s really fuelling her anger. Come to think it, this whole scene (in which Peeta also gets angry and Katniss notes that “he’s trying not to lose his temper”) seems to have parallels with the disastrous first conversation Peeta and Katniss have in Mockingjay. I won’t go further into that here, though, since the topic of “Did Katniss do right by Peeta in MJ” is a whole discussion in itself.
But I will address the idea that Katniss lacks compassion, or doesn’t care about the welfare of those outside her small circle of “kin”. It does seem that Katniss usually feels compassion for people she’s had time to bond with, or who remind her of others she feels connected to. (But isn’t that the case for others, like Peeta, as well? His gift to Rue and Thresh’s families was likely unprecedented, and impresses Katniss, but there’s no sign he was planning on giving anything to the families of the other tributes. I can see the D8 girl’s family watching him in D11, and not really being THAT impressed.) And as the story goes on, her circle of “kin” seems to get larger. The story arc about her prep team shows this quite well.
When Gale visits Katniss post-reaping in THG, he compares the Games to hunting animals, and Katniss admits internally that “if I can forget they’re people, it will be no different at all” (THG Ch.3). At first, she finds the prep team to be “so unlike people that I’m no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet”. On the other side, Flavius says post-Remake, “You almost look like a human being now!” (THG Ch.5) What a microcosm of the tendency to dehumanize the “other” on both sides of the Capitol-District divide. In CF, even Peeta is disgusted when the “preps” encourage them to essentially binge and purge.
Yet, when Katniss finds her prep team imprisoned in D13, she is appalled, and demands they be set free. She also, interestingly, assumes Gale shares her outrage, at one point wondering “if he‘s thinking about his own brutal flogging back in 12”. So when he asks her “why do you care so much about your prep team?”, her first response is to “open my eyes to see if he‘s joking”. (MJ CH.4) They then argue, and Katniss actually tells Gale that “hurting them, it’s like hurting children”. This is months before the “compassion bomb” and “cracking of the Nut” debates.
Speaking of children, what about Katniss’s “yes for Prim” vote, when Coin proposes that a version of the Hunger Games be conducted using Capitol children as tributes? It seems that the breakdown among the general leadership is roughly 50-50 as to whether this was a sincere “yes” or not. And while it seems the majority of serious fans do think the vote was a ruse, there still is a sizeable minority, maybe 30-40%, who take it as face value.
Now, I personally never thought Katniss was sincere. But I suspect that Suzanne Collins meant for the average reader to respond the way Mark from markreads.net does. The possibility that the vote was a ruse doesn’t even occur to Mark, who is horrified over it, states “This is the tragedy to end all tragedies”, and thinks that Snow won in the end; until, of course, Katniss shoots Coin instead. (See
In order to get that reaction, obviously, she needed to make it somewhat plausible that Katniss actually would be capable of sacrificing the Capitol kids to sate her need for vengeance. It is true that Katniss, much earlier in MJ, rejects Peeta’s call for a cease-fire, and doesn’t register any objection, internal or external, to Gale’s statement that “If I could hit a button and kill every living soul working for the Capitol, I would do it.” (MJ Chap. 2) Her “if we burn, you burn with us” outburst in D8, (MJ Chap. 7), after she shot down Capitol bombers with no qualms about killing the pilots, seemed rather vengeful to me as well.
However, when Gale later asks, after the battle in D2, “what difference is there, really, between crushing our enemy in a mine or blowing them out of the sky…the result is the same”, Katniss points out that “that kind of thinking… you could turn it into an argument for killing anyone at any time. You could justify sending kids into the Hunger Games.” (MJ Ch.16) Okay, maybe SC didn’t mean for the average reader to believe the vote after all, after that giant piece of foreshadowing….
Also, note that what got D2 to finally join the rebellion, was not the actual attack on the Nut, but Katniss’s plea to the injured man who emerges from the mountain, that “I‘m tired of being a piece in their Games”. (MJ Ch. 15) Yes, she gets shot for her trouble, and many Gale fans interpret this turn of events as proving him right. But then the mine workers turn on the Peacekeepers, and D2 falls into rebel hands fairly easily. Would Gale’s plan been as successful?
BTW, I don’t see this as a “What Would Peeta Do” moment (as do some who think Katniss needs Peeta as a moral compass because she doesn’t have her own). When Katniss is repulsed by Gale’s suggestion that the rebels kill everyone in the Nut, she’s not thinking about Peeta at all. She only starts thinking about Peeta once Haymitch brings him up. And even then, her thought is “he would be able to articulate why it is so wrong”. (MJ Ch. 15, emphasis mine.) While Katniss does wind up borrowing Peeta’s words, she’s not borrowing the ideals behind them.
Back to the vote! You could accuse SC of cheating here, by not letting the reader see Katniss’s exact thoughts at the time of the vote. But Katniss does NOT express any desire for anger or vengeance. She does express some despair when she thinks “nothing will ever change”, but if she’d just given up, why would she bother to ”weigh my options carefully, think everything through”. (MJ Ch.26) Her musing about whether Haymitch truly understands her, also seems to reflect calculation and planning. A Katniss who coldly calculates the deaths of innocent children, strikes me as extremely out of character. I also doubt that Peeta would have wanted such a woman to bear his own children.
So, what actually does fuel the “fire” that Katniss refers to at the end? A general lust for life that has been rekindled once her depression lifted? Love for her family and friends (a definition that is much more fluid at the end, than when she started)? Some level of righteous anger, or a passion to defend the innocent? I think all of these may apply, and still not equate to the “rage and hatred” she sees in Gale at the end.
(AKA Tangerine, Clementine, and Mandarin. Not to mention the actual name on my birth certificate. Yep, I go by many different names, just like Katniss.)
PS: Well, actually, it’s not just in the end that she realizes this about Gale. Unlike Katniss, who does grow and mature over the course of the series, Gale doesn’t (another difference between them). Instead, the events in MJ simply show Gale for who he was all along. In D2, Katniss recalls that “back in the old days, when we were nothing more than a couple of kids hunting outside of 12, Gale said things like this and worse. But then they were just words. Here, put into practice, they become deeds that can never be reversed.” (MJ Ch. 15)
Hmm, care for some fries with that foreshadowing? While Gale’s plans for D2 are actually shot down by D13 leaders, including Coin, her later adoption of his “compassion bomb” to target not just Capitol citizens, but Prim, winds up being the ultimate deed that can never reversed. It makes sense, then, that Gale’s friendship with Katniss does not survive Prim’s death. Many have argued that by refusing to forgive Gale, Katniss is being a hypocrite. But I think that even if Prim had lived, Gale and Katniss would have eventually drifted apart, because their values were just so different.
Doing our year in review post reminded us of our occasional “Why You’re REALLY Here” posts, in which we dissect real keywords and phrases that have lead people to Victor’s Village via search engines. It’s about time for another one!
To repeat, people have actually searched these phrases and found their way here. Because they’re so repetitive and numerous, we’ve left out everyone looking for various forms of sexy times featuring the characters or actors this round. Seriously… it’s about half of our search terms. We wish that were a joke.
In today’s post, all of them have been searched at least twice in the past 30 days. Prepare yourselves!
Fish Guy Star Wars - Fish guy? FISH GUY?! How dare you speak of the honorable Admiral Ackbar, the character whose one line gets the greatest unintentional laugh in the entire original Star Wars trilogy, in such a way! Learn some respect! Also, as to how you were lead to a Hunger Games site: IT’S A TRAP!
Was that really the one time you kissed Gale? - We’ve never kissed Gale, because Gale is a fictional character. We’ve featured first person guest posts, but this isn’t “The Katniss Everdeen Diaries” now! Are you really so desperate for gossip that you’ll try to get it from a fictional character?!
How to make Hunger Games trading cards - Buy tons of supplies. Print tons of photos and descriptions on card stock. Spend hours printing, pasting, gluing, and decorating. Never trade them because homemade Hunger Games trading cards are absolutely worthless. Go online and buy some like a sensible human being.
Ron Howard shirtless photos - We realize he’s a solid actor turned director and back in the day he wasn’t all the bad to look at but DEAR GOD! WHY WOULD YOU EVER WANT THIS?!
Dismissing criticism as haterz - *cough* Do we do this? Maybe? WITH THE Z? Possibly. We’re just that classy! Let’s make it worse with a girl band song from the turn of the century!
The Hunger Games boarding school fanfictions - That would be one FUCKED UP boarding school! You think that these kids would just get out all their frustrations in other ways if you give them beds, but NO. They’re trying to kill each other, people! WRONG SETTING.
Katniss and Peeta pregnant - AT THE SAME TIME?! We don’t think science has reached that achievement even in Panem but hey, maybe we’re wrong.
Sexy panic game - The words “sexy” and “panic” really don’t go together in our book! Do we need a safe word? If so, it’s “armadillo”. We know it’s a mouthful, buuuuut… *ends joke there before we really get ourselves in trouble*
Friends who blackmail you - The Hunger Games will not save you! You need better friends. Possibly a lawyer. Godspeed.
At Least We’re Being Honest With Each Other,
The Girl With The Pearl
We’re back with our Guest Post Tuesday! This time, we’re hearing from Satsuma! She;s got some interesting character analysis of our often misunderstood heroine, Katniss Everdeen!
Take it away, Satsuma!
You can say that the THG series is about a lot of things. Suzanne Collins might say it’s about war first and foremost, but it’s also about survival, adventure, romance, even psychology. And much like the overall story offers different things to different people, so does its heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Marshall Bruce Mathers III created not just one persona, “Eminem”, but also the “Slim Shady” persona as a spinoff of that. Well, Katniss, along the course of the story, also acquires several different personas. The Girl on Fire. The Star-Crossed Lover. The Mockingjay.
But it’s not just the name. In my perusal of many Hunger Games fansites, blogs, and discussions, I have found a plethora of different opinions about Katniss. Some hail her as a heroine, a role model, a defender of the innocent. Others find her to be an angry, vengeful girl who’s being a hypocrite when she questions Gale’s ruthless actions. I’ve even seen Katniss described as a sociopath who’s really not much different from her chief antagonist, Snow.
Katniss questions her own identity many times in the books. In THG, when she considers her possible post-Games life as a wealthy Victor, she muses, “What would my life be like on a daily basis? Most of it has been consumed with the acquisition of food. Take that away and I’m not really sure who I am, what my identity is. The idea scares me some.”
As she is heading back to District 12 after the Games, she muses some more:
“I excuse myself to change out of my dress and into a plain shirt and pants. As I slowly, thoroughly wash the makeup from my face and put my hair in its braid, I begin transforming back into myself. Katniss Everdeen. A girl who lives in the Seam. Hunts in the woods. Trades in the Hob. I stare in the mirror as I try to remember who I am and who I am not.”
Well, Katniss, you’re not the only one having a hard time remembering who you really are. Many fans have sharply divergent opinions, about a lot of different dimensions of you. There are so many, I can’t fit them all into one post. So here is the first in a series of them!
First question. is Katniss masculine or feminine? For many readers, the first impression of Katniss, is that she is a classic tomboy, more at home in the woods wearing her old father’s hunting jacket, than twirling around in a dress. Many fans see her and Peeta’s relationship as an example of a complete gender role switcheroo. After all, not only does Peeta bake, frost cakes, and is less than skilled in outdoor survival, he actually wants to settle down, have a family, and pop out kids (or would if he could), while Katniss has that stereotypically male Fear of Commitment.
And yet…Katniss is NOT balking on marriage and family because she wants the freedom to bed every eligible male in sight, or is ambitiously focused on a high-profile career. Unlike Peeta, who’s embraced his identity as a baker, Katniss really doesn’t seem to have any vocational goals. So, while Peeta IS a baker, as Katniss tells him in MJ, Katniss is just “a girl who hunts.” Her hunting is a means to survival first and foremost. It may also provide her with a feeling of connection to her father, and to Gale, but she doesn’t seem to enjoy it as much once she’s in D13 and hunting is reduced to recreation.
So what is Katniss’s REAL identity in the pre-Game days? It’s not “Katniss the huntress”, it’s “Katniss the provider for the family”. While that’s still a more traditionally masculine role, nowadays even traditionalist types who think a “woman’s place is in the home”, will grudgingly allow for mothers to work if they “HAVE to” financially, have no choice because the man of the house died or left, or are actually, you know, starving. Which, really, is all Katniss is trying to do, survive for another day. Also, consider what Katniss knew was the alternative to learning to hunt; joining those starving girls lining up at Cray’s door, selling their bodies. Her finding hunting to be a better option, doesn’t mean she had a secret ambition to become the CEO of some fancy company selling wild game to every household in Panem.
And speaking of fancy jobs…a corollary to the idea of Katniss as a masculine figure, is the idea that “Katniss is Gale with tatas”. Is Katniss more similar to Gale, or to Peeta? Even many Everlark shippers assume the former is true, they just use it as an argument as to how Gale and Katniss wouldn’t have worked because they’re TOO similar to each other.
But are they really? It seems to me that Gale always had ambitions to move beyond the confines of D12, while both Katniss and Peeta see D12 as home and are content to return to it at the end. (Now, technically Katniss HAD to return, but I think that she’d have done so even without that part of her “parole agreement”.) Out of the Love Triangle Trio, the only one who winds up putting career before family, is Gale.
As an aside: I think that Peeta hitting it off with the Capitol bakers, and his artistic nature that Katniss teases him about in CF, suggest that he could have survived, even thrived, in the Capitol after the war. (Also, note that cooking and baking as paid professions, as well as the art world, is STILL dominated by men, so Peeta really isn’t being that subversive in his career choices.) If Peeta was interested in personal advancement, returning to D12 was not exactly the best career move. But did anyone doubt he would?
As for Gale, I think that while he did sincerely love Katniss, she wasn’t his true love. His true love was the rebellion, and in both CF and MJ, he lets his commitment to the Cause drive him and Katniss further apart. He also, in canon, shown to have that stereotypically male tendency to Sow His Wild Oats Before Settling Down. I wonder when Gale would have made a move on Katniss if Darius and Peeta hadn’t made him realize that he’s not the only guy who finds Katniss attractive. Would he have continued his reign as King of the Slag Heap, assuming Katniss would be available once he finally got ready to settle down?
Now, you can argue that Katniss takes Peeta for granted just as much as Gale took her for granted, but Katniss wasn’t playing the field. In stark contrast to Gale, Katniss is, as Peeta puts it, “pure”. Also, it’s not the experienced Gale who awakens Katniss’s sexual “hunger”, it’s Peeta. Hmm, a pure woman who only lets her more primal desires be sparked by a man she knows will be around for the long haul and truly loves her, for more than just her body? Seems like the plot of literally a thousand romance novels. Also, note that Katniss is fairly passive in her approach to romance. She’s never the one to make the first move, with either Peeta or Gale. She might not spend as much time obsessing over her love life as, say, Bella Swan, but here she is following some very traditional female tropes.
And BTW, despite a lot of fanfic/art presenting this as fact: Katniss is NOT a horrible cook. At one point in THG, she describes, in great detail, how she’d recreate a Capitol version of Orange Chicken… “Chickens are too expensive, but I could make do with a wild turkey. I’d need to shoot a second turkey to trade for an orange. Goat’s milk would have to substitute for cream. We can grow peas in the garden. I’d have to get wild onions from the woods…” This is NOT the POV of someone who can’t heat up a pot of Greasy Sae’s stew without setting the kitchen on fire! As a Food Network fan, I’d say that while she might not win Next Iron Chef, she doesn’t need pointers from the How to Boil Water crew either. I think she’s at least at the Rachael Ray level, though with a totally different personality, of course.
And true, Katniss isn’t bubbly and giggly like “Rache”, or Delly. She seems to be more comfortable among boys than girls; not just Peeta and Gale, but Cinna, Finnick, even Haymitch. But she does have a close relationship with the more stereotypically feminine Prim, bonds with Rue, and winds up befriending Madge and Johanna (two very different women, other than being fan favorites to pair up with Gale), as well.
Unfortunately, Katniss not being a stereotypical female in some (though NOT all) respects, has led to her being harshly judged by many fans for not following the Stand By Your Man routine when Peeta’s hijacked. She’s also judged for not forgiving Gale for his part in Prim’s death. Because, of course, women are all supposed to be unconditionally loving, forgiving, and Emotionally Supportive, as opposed to those stone-faced males who have the emotional capacity of a teaspoon (and if you didn’t get that reference, I urge you to read the Harry Potter books again, and if you haven’t yet…PLEASE DO!)
Well, I actually thought it refreshing that Katniss is presented as a believable female character who often has trouble understanding her own feelings, much less expressing them verbally. Because there are times when I find myself in similar situations, and I don’t think this makes *me* less feminine. Yes, for those who don’t know me, I do happen to be a woman, who also has some non-traditionally female interests like baseball and football, but I certainly don’t think that makes me “masculine”, either.
That’s it for now. Part 2 will delve into “Is Katniss a compassionate person, or not?” “Is Katniss a static or dynamic character?” I’ll also return to the topic of how similar she REALLY is to Gale. I think that answering those questions also helps answer that very controversial one of why Katniss voted the way she did in that pivotal scene toward the end of MJ.
Let’s face it: The Hunger Games movie could have been a disaster. Thankfully, it was NOT a disaster. The movie was given what it needs to thrive and BAM! We got ourselves some awesomeness!
… But that doesn’t mean we can’t giggle at it just a little!
Some parts are meant to make you smirk and chuckle a bit, like Caesar Flickerman’s entrance and Peeta’s “I’ll take the bow” moment, but in every movie, there are unintentionally funny bits. Things that weren’t meant to elicit that snicker, but still do… especially after you’ve watched the movie several times over.
Hold on to your hats, you “I take this site that’s mostly based in humor way too seriously” people, because we’ve talking about THOSE moments!
Unintentionally Funny Moments in The Hunger Games
Prim’s Mountain Lion Scream – Besides some music, this is the first sound in the movie and it’s a doozy! If ever we were abandoned in the Serengeti, we’d want an audio clip of Willow Shield’s scream that we could play to scare off blood-thristy, wild predators. Who would’ve expected such a sound from the smallest and most endearing character in the movie?
Hovercraft Face - Capitol hovercrafts make everyone in the districts nervous, especially when they’re hunting illegally in restricted forests. But Gale is more than worried! He has simultaneously backed into a cactus and swallowed a bug while worrying about the hovercraft, by the looks of it! And he’s holds that face in place. FOR-EV-ER.
Foot to Chest - In Haymitch’s reveal, he’s a drunk mess, but not in a cute way– in the way that’s meant to make fans feel like Katniss and Peeta are surely doomed. But when Peeta tries to stand up to Haymitch, he ends up stuck back in his chair with Haymitch’s foot on his chest. It’s supposed to be devastating. It’s supposed to make audiences feel hopeless, because the tributes’ only hope is a hopeless slob. But our inner 12-year-old can only think “Heh, you just got PWNed by a foot!”
Peeta Gives The Careers Jitters - Peeta falls off things. The Careers look at him like a steak dinner in the making. Peeta throws big-metal-weight-thingamig into a rack of spears that was probably not meant to be a target. For the briefest of flashes, the Careers are TAKEN ABACK! They all gasp and put on their panic faces in almost perfect unison, as if the highly skilled killers are frightened of Peeta because he can throw heavy things. “Watch out for this dude! He’s craaaaaaazy!”
Tracker Jacker Face - Make Josh Hutcherson scream panicked, aggressive instruction. Zoom in tight on his face as he does so. Then slow it down. Congratulations! You’ve turned Peeta’s wonderful moment of sacrifice from the books into a giggle fit!
The Cave Scene - This is not a giggle fit. It’s an awkward series of individual, strangled little laughs. The book to screen translation falls a bit short here, making Katniss and Peeta look a lot more like silly teens than strategic survivors. It’s so awkward, your heart kind of stings, but yet you’re still chuckling. Nostalgia, perhaps?
What we’re basically saying is this: It’s okay to laugh at The Hunger Games! You can find parts silly or amusing even when they’re not meant to be. We’re certainly not judging you for it. Loosen your corset, have a drink! It doesn’t mean you love the series any less.
Can you think of any other unintentionally laugh out loud moments in The Hunger Games? We’re sure there’s a few that got to you that we haven’t caught on to!
We kid because we love,
The Girl With The Pearl